Monday, June 24, 2013

I am ready to make the 2nd half even better than the first!

So our baptizee didn't disappear but he needed another week to work on stopping smoking.  He has been working on it for a while but couldn't quite kick it completely and postponing the baptism I think is helping him take that last step and realize that he really does have to stop smoking completely. He still really wants to get baptized and is doing much better and on track for this Saturday. So at least we don't have to take the font back this week! We should be able to keep it for a while, I think the mission has quite a few and in our zone only 2 of the 4 cities need a portable font and we have two portable fonts in the zone right now so unless one of the other zones has a need for a lot of fonts we should be fine!

In general things are going pretty well, it was even hotter this week than it was last week and so the streets are pretty dead, not to many people really go out so we have to stick to the parks and areas that have more shade if we want to find people. We have some pretty cool people we are working with and a couple of them have dates for baptism! This week we have started teaching this one family we tracted into, the grandmother is pretty religious, and they are a bit poor so there are a lot of them living there, but she really likes what we have taught so far and is really active in getting her family involved in the lessons with us.  Last night we taught her and a couple of her kids (and their wife/ husband) and also a few of her grandchildren, as we would teach she would always make sure that they would understand what we had said and have them explain verses that we had read to make sure that they understood. She also loves the Book of Mormon and she understands it really well, I've only had one other investigator who has had such a good grasp of the Book of Mormon (and he had been reading it for 15 years!), she told us she didn't really understand it at first but as she kept reading and she was able to understand more and more! She was sharing all of the things she learned and liked and comparing it to what she knew from the bible! It was pretty incredible and her whole family is pretty awesome! So I feel pretty blessed to be able to work with them!

I feel pretty good about the language I occasionally do dream in it, it just feels normal to talk with people now, which is good. 
Luckily the heat here is more of the dry heat,  I'm not a huge fan of humidity, but it's not as dry as Utah. We have transfers in a couple weeks I'm pretty sure, the beginning of July sometime. Here in Blagoevgrad it is very green, there are a lot of trees - I would say it's like a mixture of Oregon and Victor, plus mountains.

The Branch is doing well we had a branch activity on sat. and it went well and our investigators got to know the members better and vice-versa and it was fun! But yeah things are going well and I'm glad to be here, although it's weird to think that I have less time left than I have been on a mission, kind of sad, but it is good because I feel like I can actually do the work and speak the language now so I am ready to make the 2nd half even better than the first!

Elder Maxwell

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Who's Counting? I am!

On Wednesday, this week, Christian will have completed 52 weeks as a missionary!  That means his is halfway home!  I don't think he would be nearly as happy about that news as I am!

Things are going pretty well here and I am doing good!

I am doing really well, our training meeting was really good.  We have a couple investigators that are doing really well and a few others we are working with. Actually, this Saturday we should be having a baptism - so long as everything goes well! We had to get one of the portable fonts from Sofia yesterday and bring it back on the bus.   We have it in a few bags but they are really big and heavy so that was a project, all in our suits from the meeting and it being super hot!  Getting all of that to the bus station and to the church, I got pretty sweaty and stinky - gross!

This week we've been trying to find a bunch of the non active members from the branch list that haven't come in forever.  We went out to this one selo (village) maybe a half hour from Blagoevgrad. We had to take a bus and so we talked to the people at the station and got on the right one but instead of going to the village the bus stops at the side of the highway and the driver said that was the stop for the village so we had to walk a couple kilometers up some side road to get to the village. We were pretty excited to find this member and her son, she had even been to the temple, we get there and have her address but there are no street signs or anything and no one even knows the names of the streets there.  We  just were asking everyone if they knew her and after a bit we found out she had passed away a couple years before and her son was living in Sofia. So that was a bit of a bummer but an adventure none the less and we got to talk to some cool people out in the village. 

So yeah it is good, I do enjoy being a district leader it is pretty fun!  I got to teach our ward how to have ward council, I haven't ever been to a ward council so I had to do a little research on them and figure out what all they needed to do, it wasn't perfect but that's okay there is plenty of time for growth and improvement here. Oh and the branch presidents wife just had her baby on Friday so everyone is pretty excited about that! So yeah things are going pretty well here and I am doing good! 

I hope you have a great time in Sweden and that everyone at home will have a good time too!
Love you, 
Elder Maxwell

Monday, June 10, 2013

Pics of the week!

Me in front of the American University

The main glav, and if you look at the hill there is a new cross they just built.

We hiked up to the new cross last pday, so here is me in front of it.

It's not really that hard to share the gospel!

This week has been good, we have a good number of investigators and they are doing well, although one of them needs to start coming to church so he can get baptized.  Recently we have been spending more time teaching than finding which really is nice, I'm not against finding but I do prefer teaching, it is pretty awesome!

A good story from this week: we have one investigator' he is pretty old and a little crazy but his son is super cool and has a lot of potential, the other day we went over for a lesson with them and usually they have some cherries or something that we have to eat while we talk, (Bulgarians are very hospitable and basically refuse to let you leave or anything till they feed you or give you a drink), but this time he had a whole meal thing set up.  It was just like cold balogne hot dog thing and some funny looking cheese and he would let us talk or anything till we had eaten it all, so that was, cool. He really likes the Book of Mormon though and is a really nice guy. One other time we were tracting and an older lady, who had met with the missionaries around 9 years ago, let us in and we shared a short message with her and then were going to leave because it was almost time to be back in our apartment for the night and she wouldn't let us leave till she made us hot chocolate.  So she goes and gets the milk heating up and gets out her china and all. (And we really had to leave!) she brings it out and we have to quick down this burning hot coco and get out of there, she was really nice we just didn't have much time.

We have an investigator, he likes the discotekas and smoking and all and he would tell us about it.  When we told him we dont drink or smoke and taught him about the Word of Wisdom, we didn't even have to commit him to live by it, he decided, on his own, that was something he wanted to do! Our example can have a big influence on those around us, as they get to know us and what we believe, they very possibly will want to be like us! This week I actually was thinking about the time a friend came over to our house so I could help him with some homework and I remeber all the little siblings were there and you had just baked a desert or something and it didn't seem weird or anything at the time but I wonder what kind of an impression that made on him. I can't remeber what he said specifically after but I think he enjoyed being there and it did have a positive influence on him, even though he was only there for twenty or so minutes for some help with homework. 
One thing I've noticed on my mission is that it's not really that hard to share the gospel with people when we are good examples for them it leads them to ask questions and then really all you need is a little practice and the determination/ desire to share and the rest just kind of comes. So yeah that is super cool that you are putting yourself out there and being the great example that you are!!

Have an awesome week, I love you all!
Elder Maxwell

Monday, June 3, 2013

Keeping busy and all that good stuff!

Things are going pretty well, our investigator with a date for this Saturday disappeared so we are going to have to postpone that and try and find him somehow. It happened in Sofia this week too but he disappeared on the day of his baptism, so at least we didn't have our guy not show up to the baptism or something.

Other than that things are going really well.  We got a ton of new investigators last week, we contacted a lot of the former investigators and a few of them have some interest to meet with us some more. We also have a couple that we are teaching that are really cool and I have some high expectations for them!

We've been really busy the last week and we are trying to work with the members a lot more, having a member present at lessons and also trying to get referrals from them.  We plan on having an activity for the branch for everyone to bring their friends too so if you have any good ideas of activities or stuff we could do that would be good for people of all ages, I'm open to suggestions!

I had to teach the branch how to have branch council yesterday which was good because they are having it now, it wasn't perfect but it was a first for all of us so that is exciting! They didn't really want to go visit the less actives they had kind of lost hope in them or figure they'll come back on their own but eventually I got them to at least agree to work with one this month and get some goals set. But they are learning, it's definitely something different being in smaller newer branches, it's cool though and I definitely learn a lot! So yeah keeping busy and all that good stuff!

Have an awesome week! I love you all!!
Старейшина Максуел